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Manny has a bad wheel... and a new tricycle

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  March 12, 2009 03:39 PM

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Is Manny's hammy acting up already?

Manny Ramirez, who was scheduled to make his spring debut today as a designated hitter, was scratched from the Dodgers's exhibition game against South Korea's WBC team because of tightness in his left hamstring. Ramirez said he could have played, but manager Joe Torre decided to give him the day off.

"It's going to get better, so I'm not worried about it," said Ramirez. "I'm not disappointed. You've got plenty of time to get ready. That's in my favor, so I'm going to take it day by day.

"Maybe age is catching up to me," said Ramirez, who turns 37 in May.

The Dodgers expect Ramirez to play a big role in their division title defense, and that's why they didn't want to rush him.

Ramirez has been showing up before dawn to get in playing shape after missing the first two weeks of spring training. He said his hamstring tightened up as he ran from second base to home during a drill before batting practice on Thursday morning.

"I was going second to home and it just felt kind of tight," Ramirez said. "I only felt it today. It wasn't that bad, just a little tight. I'll give it a try tomorrow."

Ramirez said he told Torre he wanted to play, but the manager scratched him and started former Red Sox second baseman Mark Loretta as the DH instead.

"(Torre) said, 'No, let's take on more day off,'" Ramirez said.

Manny said he hoped to play on Friday against the Rangers. He said he has no doubts about being ready for opening day.

"I think we have time," he said.

Ramirez said he hopes he can get between 40 and 50 at-bats before opening day. The Dodgers have 19 spring training games left.

"I need the whole spring training," Ramirez said. "Everybody needs it just to go and get ready at the plate and get ready in the outfield."

Meanwhile, Manny's got a new ride with the Dodgers. Check out this footage from ESPN of Ramirez hijacking a full-size tricycle and peddling in front of the Dodgers executive office building this morning ...

To read more about Manny's response to Jonathan Papelbon's comments about him today, check out today's update from the Globe's Amalie Benjamin.

Material from the Associated Press and MLB.com was used in this update.

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